View Poll Results: Which body material is best?

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  • Formed Aluminum

    3 11.54%
  • Extruded Aluminum

    10 38.46%
  • Stainless Steel

    13 50.00%
  • Gavaneel

    0 0%

Thread: Body Materials

  1. #1
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    Default Body Materials

    I was wanting some opinions about body material on apparatus. I hear from all the different vendors that their body is the strongest. What do you guys use as a guideline as to which body material is best. Do you go on longevity of trucks? Corrosion resistance? Or the weight of the body material? Which body material is the best:

    Formed Aluminum
    Extruded Aluminum
    Stainless Steel
    Galvaneel

    I'm looking for a body/cab combination that will last the longest and hold up well.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
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    Default

    You forgot one...

    Check our http://www.polybilt.com/

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    Thumbs up

    jake,

    Extruded and formed aluminum are the same material, different construction type.

  4. #4
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    Default Materials

    I know there both aluminum but which is stronger? ive always heard that if you bend metal it weakens it? so which would you consider better? thanks!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Materials

    Originally posted by jake2415
    I know there both aluminum but which is stronger? ive always heard that if you bend metal it weakens it? so which would you consider better? thanks!
    if the aluminum extrusion is done cold, it is the bending metal, just in a different process.

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    Cool body material

    Corrosion resistance, strength, area of unit that is under consideration such as cab area stronger metal to provide protection. A lot to consider along with weight. Most reputable dealers and manufactures will or should be able to explain reasoning for different metals in different areas. Most of our units are aluminum body with extra thick and reinforced where required for safety. Some fiberglass in places not crucial such as front end cowling etc. If money is not at play and you can go custom it should not be a problem but if you are looking at generic then take your time and find what you believe is the best suited to your needs and meets enough safety requirements and meets the needs of your geographical area for however long you are going to have or estimate to have the rig. For instance you probably would not want steel in an area with a lot of moisture, snow road salts etc. Good luck and keep it safe.

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    Stainless steel is heavy, hard, brittle, difficult to weld, difficult to drill, difficult to paint, corners are sharp and cut people, and it cracks. Two of our newest rigs are stainless and I do not forsee buying another one

    Birken

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    BirkenVogt you must also consider that SS is heavier than Aluminum which means it needs to be thinner to keep overall weight down. This leads to more stress cracks down the road.

    Aluminum has a problem retaining paint which is a real pain in the but for us who like the BRT to be pretty. Its enough of a problem that most air lines no longer paint their airplanes, rather they use really big stickers. Also the USCG has stopped painting their aluminum boats white, they are now bare aluminum with just a racing stripe on the bow.

    Fiberglass IMHO is just a pain in the rump. It is subject to photo degration (UV light), fatigue, and is difficult to repair, usually requiring 3-5 days to do a "proper" repair with a trained F/G tech.

    Kevlar and Carbon Fiber are too expensive for most applications.

    Poly is interesting, we make out tanks out of it, but I'm pretty sure you can't paint it so once the sun causes to color to fade it looks like puke forever.

    Bending any metal cold does make it weaker in shear strength so we don't bend materials such as suspensions or frames. Bending does not make much of a difference in puncture resistance so usually only panels are bent which don't require any where the strength they possess anyway by virtue of the minimum thickness to the material being worked. We also don't normally bend compression loaded members (usually angles are welded in) as the bend induces shear loads right where the metal is weakest to shearing.
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    Default

    Agreed on all counts, but I find our aluminum apparatus hold paint better than our stainless stuff. One rig was poorly prepped apparently and any little ding will make a 1/4" or bigger chip come off, another was better prepped but still small chips come off pretty easy. We have no issues of this kind on our aluminum rigs.

    Birken

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    Default

    How about using bolted stainless body?

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    Bending any metal cold does make it weaker in shear strength so we don't bend materials such as suspensions or frames. Bending does not make much of a difference in puncture resistance so usually only panels are bent which don't require any where the strength they possess anyway by virtue of the minimum thickness to the material being worked. We also don't normally bend compression loaded members (usually angles are welded in) as the bend induces shear loads right where the metal is weakest to shearing. [/B][/QUOTE]

    if frame rails are not bent cold, then how are they bent?

    Many big truck frames, not specifically fire trucks but there could be mfgs out there that Hydroform frames to get the basic

    Because hydroforming does not have the impact that traditional stamping does, there can be less stress

    much of what I'm reading hear sounds like salesman speak, who are trained by their factories engineers and sales departments to speak in sound bites, and to make their manufacturing process sound better than the competitions.

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    Originally posted by Farley
    if frame rails are not bent cold, then how are they bent?
    Most frames are extruded, ie bend hot, then further heat treated, that's why your not supposed to weld to a frame, you ruin the heat treatment. Heavy weight frames are welded up from flat stock, no bends at all.

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    Default

    Originally posted by CaptainS
    How about using bolted stainless body?
    Constantly chasing down all the loose bolts that fall out so the whole darn thing doesn't fall apart

    Birken

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    I must say I sell bolted apparatus.

    Constantly chasing down all the loose bolts that fall out so the whole darn thing doesn't fall apart
    1 Your power plant and transmission are botled aren't they?

    2 Do you have to tighten them all the time? I doubt it, so that means that they are doing something correctly at International, Cat, Detroit, Cummins, and Allison.

    3 If you have to tighten things all the time the your manufacturer didn't use self lock fasteners.
    Fyrtrks

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    You are comparing apples to oranges. The engine and transmission are made from large castings machined to fit together under very close engineering supervision and quality control and they are all the same. Additionally the bolts are very large.

    On a fire engine body that is bolted together you have a thin piece of stainless steel bolted to another thin piece of stainless with bolts that are inches apart, a much wider ratio than any set of bolts that holds an engine or transmission together. Additionally when you make all these parts of stainless steel the extreme hardness causes several problems:

    1. A lock washer will not bite into either the surface under the nut nor the nut itself.

    2. The surfaces to be held together are typically both stainless and the harness causes them not to conform to each other, i.e. more likely to slide against each other causing the nuts to loosen. In a properly engineered assy the clamping force of the bolts holds this sliding from ever taking place, but....

    3. The same slickness also allows a nut to loosen as well if it is not assembled with a lock washer.

    Now I know ny-locks, etc. will overcome these problems to some degree. And the quality of the manufacturer has a HUGE amount to do with the whole package.

    But my main point is: welded=no chance for the bolts to come loose in the first place.

    Birken

  16. #16
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    Default Properly Engineered Is The Key!

    This will be fun and this is what the forums are for.

    You are correct that the assembly must be properly engineered my company is very dedicated to engineering and we are very deliberate about the engineering of new products and options for our units.

    Some manufactures use thin material we use 10 guage and 12 guage material.

    1 You are correct lock washers do not bite into SS very well.

    2 Thank You for bringing up proper engineering. And properly machined assemblies. Our machining tollerances are .003 of an inch.

    3 You want to have a unit tht flexes a welded unit will flex very little our units are designed to flex all assemblies flex independent of each other.

    4 Some of the other difficulties with welded apparatus are; painting look under the drip edging and see if the paint goes all the way up under the treadplate. Our painted units are painted apart and the assembled. Secondly like bolts; welds can fail, are all the welders certified welders, I am not saying all welds are going to fail but like bolts they can and there is more variables in a weld than there is in a bolt.

    Therefore my point is welding isn't bad but neither is bolting. I am sure you have guessed that my company uses welded cabs so I can't really complain too much about welding. I am just trying to offer a differing opinion.
    Fyrtrks

  17. #17
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    Question

    Where are you from fyrtrk?

  18. #18
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    Default Binghamton

    I am from Binghamton NY.
    <----- Not to be a WI$E@SS
    Last edited by Fyrtrks; 06-20-2005 at 08:07 PM.
    Fyrtrks

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